A dear reader recently wrote to me who said:
For the first time in my life I slept with a guy after the second date. We have an awesome time together in conversation and great physical connection, but after 5 dates I feel like he’s pulling back. He still texts every day but was texting at least 3x per day.
What to do when he pulls back and you really like him? Please help!
The chemistry is strong, you connect, you have fun and you go out again. Another amazing time! Now you start to get really excited.
“Could this be it? Could he be (gasp) ‘The One?'”
You allow yourself to think the unthinkable.
Maybe you hang out a few more times, but then something changes.
He talks differently, responds differently, communicates differently, acts differently, everything feels different than the way it used to be.
You want to know why. You need to know why.
You notice that he starts to pull away and seems less engaged, or he just vanishes completely (a crappy phenomenon known as “ghosting”). You feel completely blindsided and hurt. Maybe pissed off.
You need to get your answer from him.
But it’s the beginning of the end when you need to have an answer from him. Because the simple act of asking him if he still even likes you, signals that you’ve lost sight of yourself.
Here’s why this situation can be so confusing.
When a woman loses interest in a man after a few dates, she can typically pinpoint the reason. Maybe he came on too strong. He wasn’t very thoughtful and never asked her anything about herself. He didn’t follow through. She didn’t feel attracted to him. Whatever the reason may be, a woman can typically understand why she doesn’t want to move forward.
For a man on the other hand, the feeling can be a lot more subtle and inexplicable. He may have gone on a few amazing dates with her, been really into her and was having a great time, then find himself suddenly put off by her. While he previously couldn’t wait to call her to plan the next day, he now has no desire to text her.
So why does this happen? Is it really just completely out of the blue or is there a reason?
Yes, there is. It’s very deep but very subtle.
I spoke with a male client of mine the other day and we were exploring what was holding him back from committing to his girlfriend that he loves. I asked him what it was like when they first started dating, in which he realized that it was light and carefree, whereas now he feels pressure, worry, and none of that original lightness.
During the first few dates with a new man you’re probably pretty laid back, easy going, and just looking to have fun while getting to know a potentially cool new person. It’s about connecting, enjoying each other’s company, laughing, and keeping it light.
A man will love your company, and probably can’t wait to set up the next date with you and see where things go.
After a few great dates with an amazing guy, a woman can’t help but get excited about the future possibilities with him. Which is totally normal!
You might start imagining what it would be like bringing him to your work functions, what your friends would think, how adorable your babies would be.
You become attached to this fantasy future and then you can’t help but stress over it and worry about losing it. When this happens, you are no longer in the here and now, seeing the situation for what it is. Instead, your mind is focusing on what it could be and that’s when it becomes a problem.
Your fears and insecurities rise to the surface and seep into your interactions with him.
This is what I call “leaking”.
We go from a state of anabolic energy where we’re our happy, fun, confident, positive, radiant selves. Then as we start dating we can let our fears take hold and move into catabolic energy where the stress hormone cortisol courses through our body. This results in anxiety, clinginess, desperation, checking our phone every 2 seconds to see if he texted, or over-analyzing every conversation with him in our heads.
Not fun at all!
You begin interacting with the thoughts in your head rather than with the person who is sitting right in front of you. Rather than trying to learn who he is at his core, his value, the coy way he smiles, you look at his behavior and everything he says as a way to test how he feels about you… and whether you’re getting closer or further away from your outcome of being in a relationship with him.
Most men can sense on some level when a woman is reacting to them as a means to fill a void within herself, as something to fit into a box (aka. good on paper) rather than a person.
When we go from anabolic to catabolic energy, we turn from this happy, radiant, fun girl that someone would love to be around and who we love being, to an emotional, reassurance-seeking stress ball.
Why does this happen?
Most of us are seeking reassurance because at some core level we don’t feel good enough, and the feeling beneath that is fear. What makes it so harmful is that it’s not an overwhelming, all consuming fear, but rather a vague unease. It’s so quiet and subtle you may not even realize it’s there.
It’s tough to find the root of not feeling good enough, which I explore deeper in private coaching, but we subconsciously latch onto things that we think will get rid of this feeling. This may be through reassurance or trying to force situations that we think will make us happy and finally gain some relief from this subtle fear.
This inevitably impacts your vibe.
When you meet a man who makes you feel good, and whole, and safe, your need for that feeling becomes overwhelming and you’ll do anything to make it work with him. You may not even realize you’re doing it, but it’s there and it leaks, even in the slightest ways. Maybe you’re trying to appear chill, collected, and go-with-the-flow, but in your mind you’re already thinking of ways to turn a relationship that’s really nothing in these early stages into something bigger. From that point it’s not easy and natural but agenda driven.
Then this new awesome man won’t feel like he’s connecting with you, but he will feel like a means to an end. Suddenly his instinct will tell him to get away, even if he doesn’t know why.
The sad part is that this usually happens when you’re wanting him the most. And believe me, I’ve been there sister!
It sucks and hurts so badly because we truly want to feel OK, we want to feel safe and validated and know that we are worthy of love. We don’t mean to leak this energy, or cling, or act needy. It just happens and then we’re the ones hurting more and perpetuating the cycle, not understanding why we’re seemingly unlovable.
Everyone is deserving of love, including you. Especially you.
We can’t force love to happen.
When you take a relationship that is brand new and start thinking or forcing it to be more than that, it’s game over. But you won’t ever find the answer from asking him the reason why, because it isn’t concrete and measurable.
There needs to be a balance between enjoying the present moment for the blessing it is, while laying the foundation for the future.
The reason my husband and I worked is because at that time in my life I had no intent on meeting “The One”, and when he appeared in my life, I thought “this guy isn’t my type we’ll just be friends!” So therefore we got to know each other casually over a few months and enjoyed each other’s company. From there a pretty amazing connection developed.
The best relationships are the ones that unfold organically with two people bringing their best selves to the relationship and discovering who the other person is with a growing appreciation for them.
A healthy, conscious relationship is one where both people feel fulfilled by their individual lives and let that sense of fullness spill over into their relationship.
It’s two halves coming together to make more than a whole, not seeing what they can “get” from the other person, be it status, security, or self-esteem.
So don’t be afraid to get out there and bring the amazing, radiant, beautiful woman to the table that I know you are on the inside and out. Have faith and trust that if it’s right it will work out, and if it’s not right you’ll be free to move toward something even better.
Now I’d love to hear from you.
Have you ever started dating a great guy and felt that he was pulling away? What did you do?
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